My addiction to subscription boxes continues, this time with the brand new Play by Sephora box. Sephora only joined the box craze this month, so I'm excited to see where they go with it, but if they continue like this, I'll be a happy camper.
First of all, the box itself is adorable. Larger and more square than Birchbox (review here), I think I'll get more eventual use out of this shape. I love the lipstick design, and I'm interested to see if this is always the pattern, or if they switch it up like their competitors.
Set Up // Mid-August, Sephora emailed me and asked if I would like to sign up for Play!, which I obviously did. Sign up didn't include much more than giving them my billing and shipping information, unlike Birchbox, which includes a style quiz. Once I got my Sephora box, I understood why - everyone gets the same samples. This may change as the box continues, but it may not. While I like all the samples in the box now, it worries me that all 6 samples are supposed to work for women of every age/race/skin type etc. Winner - Birchbox
Samples // The Sephora samples were phenomenal. I got a mini Marc Jacobs eyeliner in black, a Ole Henrickson moisturizer, a mini Elizabeth and James Nirvana White, a deluxe sample of the Glam Glow cleanser, a Bumble and Bumble Hairdress Invisible Oil Primer and a Sephora lip stain. I would and will use every product in the box, and I love the variety. Overall, the samples are larger, and more high end compared with Birchbox. Like Birchbox, Sephora only includes samples of products they carry, but unlike Birchbox, I actually recognize all of them. Winner - Sephora
Packaging // Both companies use sturdy boxes to ship products, but Sephora adds bonus wormy filler things, which makes the box feel much more luxe. The fact that Sephora nests the products into the filler and gives every sample a little spot deeply appeals to my OCD tendencies... I am a little obsessed with the boxes both companies use and have them all over my apartment. Winner - Sephora
Company Experience // One of the things I love most about Birchbox is their review system. I'm able to rack up points by leaving reviews, and I use the points to purchase some of the more expensive parts of my beauty routine. Sephora included a card worth 50 beauty insider points in the box, but those points are not as valuable and I have to make a purchase in order to use it. Also, Sephora had some major shipping issues, which I assume is just because it was the first month, but I didn't get my box until September 28th, which was a bummer. Winner - Birchbox
Overall, I'm thrilled to subscribe to both and will continue to do so. I was definitely happier with Sephora than Birchbox, but I think Sephora was probably looking to impress with this first box. We'll see how the next few months stack up against one another.
Update // The second month of the Sephora Play box is focused on dewy skin - perfect for the weather we've been having. Included were a full size Sephora brand pearl mask and deluxe-sized samples of Dr Jart Ceramidin Day Tint, Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser, Fresh Black Tea Age-Delay Instant Infusion and belif The True Cream, as well as a small Atelier Cologne perfume sample and a baby sized Konjac sponge. All in all, it's a fabulous box. I love every product, and really appreciate that they thought through how we would use it - they covered their broad bases in terms of achieving dewy skin, and each of the samples works well together. I wish that the design of the box changed, but the presentation is very high class and feels luxurious.
Update // Six months in, and the Play box has my heart. Every month, the samples have gotten better and better. I don't love that there's no opportunities to customize, but so far, have only not used a handful. Birchbox continues to win with the box designs and options for making the samples more personal for me, but overall, Play all the way.
See my most recent review here
Sign up for Birchbox here (only $5 your first month!) and Sephora Play (limited availability) here